tv NBC Nightly News NBC December 28, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EST
on the broadcast tonight, deadlocked, with less than four days until the fiscal cliff deadline. the president summons congressional leaders to the white house. what will it take to get a deal and prevent your taxes from going up? winter blast. we're tracking yet another big storm. tonight, the latest on where it is headed and how it will impact holiday travel. caught in the middle. tonight, hundreds of children and families with shattered dreams. why has the russian government banned adoptions by u.s. citizens? and new revelations about ronald reagan's relationships with two of the most powerful women in the world, the queen and margaret thatcher in documents released three decades later. "nightly news" begins now.
from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. good evening, i'm natalie morales in tonight for brian. it is down to the wire now with about 80 hours until the fiscal cliff deadline. and on what is a holiday weekend for many, that is not the case for congressional leaders in washington. there was a sense of urgency today as the president met with house and senate leaders along with the treasury secretary and vice president a short while ago at the white house to try and forge a last-minute deal. the president says he is optimistic, but at this hour, the fiscal cliff still looms. we begin our coverage with nbc's white house correspondent, peter alexander who has been watching the developments all day. peter, good evening to you. >> reporter: natalie, good evening to you. after his first meeting with all of the top four congressional lawmakers since before thanksgiving, the president marched into the briefing room here at the white house and he said the time for immediate
action is now. he called for a bipartisan agreement and said to congressional leaders, warning them the public's patience has worn out. after an hour-long closed-door meeting with the president, both the democratic and republican congressional leaders left the white house without saying a word. later, president obama weighed in. >> the american people are not going to have any patience for a politically self-inflicted wound to our economy. not right now. the economy is growing, but sustaining that trend is going to require elected officials to do their jobs. >> reporter: and back at the capitol, senate majority leader, harry reid, described the meeting as constructive. >> we're out of time. we've got to do it now. that's why the next 24 hours will be very important. >> reporter: a source familiar with the talks told nbc news the president reiterated the proposal he presented before leaving on vacation last week. calling for, among other things, a tax cut extension for those making $250,000 or less.
and extending unemployment benefits that are set to expire. the source says the president is confident his plan can pass in both the house and senate if republicans allow a vote. earlier in the day, republicans blamed president obama for the stalemate. >> i agree that it is the president's responsibility to lay out a plan and to bring people together. but it's a total dereliction of duty and candidly, a lack of courage to deal with these issues. >> reporter: what's at stake for ordinary americans? with income and payroll tax cuts set to expire monday, taxes would go up for most everyone next week. $110 billion in spending cuts will kick in. and 2 million jobless americans will lose their unemployment benefits. like karen duckett of maryland who hasn't been able to find work since being laid off as a housekeeping manager at a retirement community last year. her unemployment benefits set to end tomorrow. >> this has been the toughest year, probably, in my entire life. >> reporter: duckett, a breast
cancer survivor, worries how she'll care for her 14-year-old grandson and has a message for lawmakers. >> remember, these are people. it's not just numbers on a piece of paper. we are actually human beings, suffering out here. >> reporter: and over on capitol hill tonight, nbc's kelly o'donnell reports that the political balance in this, natalie, is critical to get a deal done, to get a deal passed before the deadline, saying that an agreement between republican and democratic senate leaders could give cover to their house counterparts for bipartisan support. by the way, there is one other element that could be a part of this last-minute agreement. that is the farm bill, potentially being extended. that would prevent, as reported here on "nightly news" last night, milk prices from doubling, even as early as the start of the new year. >> peter alexander for us at the white house. thanks so much, peter. the financial markets are watching this all very closely as well. and wall street was spooked today. stocks plunged as that meeting at the white house was ending with still so much uncertainty. the dow closed down 158 points,
the nasdaq fell, and the s&p 500 lost nearly 16 points. its fifth down session in a row. and with more on all of this is cnbc washington correspondent, john harwood. john, seeing how the markets reacted and with this country barely recovering from the last recession, if we go over the cliff, could it send the economy over the edge? >> depends how long we stay over the cliff, natalie. if it's all year, if they can't get their act together, that would pull $500 billion out of a fragile recovery. most economists say it would tip us back into recession. if they could fix the problem early in january, the effects would be fairly minimal, although one unknown variable, is to what extent there would be a loss of confidence globally in the united states if congress can't do it before january 1st. >> and john, there was talk all day about possibly a mini deal. is that still on the table and if so what would it look like? >> it is still on the table, what harry reid and mitch mcconnell are working on. the question is can they device
something in the next 24 hours that would set an income tax hike threshold of 400 or $500,000. it would also include steps to use that revenue to defer the sequester, those automaticin discriminate budget cuts that nobody wants to happen. the question is going to be, can they get that done and get enough republicans in the senate to support it to convince the house to take it up? if not, the president and democrats are going to dare republicans to block an up or down vote on the president's proposal of tax hikes for everyone over $250,000. >> john harwood joining us from washington this evening. thanks so much, john. and a program note. david gregory will have an exclusive interview with president obama on the fiscal cliff crisis this sunday on "meet the press." and now to the weather. and more snow is on the way as we head into the new year's weekend, and that may not be the end of it. the weather channel's chris warren joins me now. chris, good evening. >> good evening to you, too, natalie. we are watching a storm right now developing that will bring
some snow to the northeast. the satellite does show that storm right now taking shape in the southeast, and it is going to move into the northeast. it's tapping into some gulf of mexico moisture. we're going to watch the timing right now. tomorrow morning, snow will be flying in the ohio valley throughout much of pennsylvania. during the day, moving into philadelphia, new york city and then into connecticut and boston by the evening. some of this blue in here, as the storm intensifies, that blue indicates some of the heavier snow. when it's all said and done, we're going to see several inches of snow in some spots. but it's going to be a fast-mover. by tomorrow night, this storm really wrapping up. here's a look at some of the totals. now, the big cities anywhere from about 1 to 4 inches of snow. that includes the airports there and with that, we'll see visibilities go down. and that will lead to travel delays at the major airports, cold air is going to be here, natalie, and that's going to linger around throughout much of the week. >> chris warren at the weather
channel. thanks so much, chris. the holiday season is bringing heartbreak to some prospective parents here in the u.s. in the process of adopting children from russia. president vladimir putin has signed a new law banning those adoptions, leaving shocked adults and children wondering what will happen next. here is nbc's kerry sanders. >> reporter: cindy and dennis boyer were weeks away from adopting baby adeline. they met the almost 2-year-old recently as they visited her russian orphanage. but now vladimir putin has signed a law that despite mounds of paperwork and thousands of dollars already spent, all the more than 1,500 adoptions currently under way and any future adoptions are permanently cancelled. >> she's for a home, ready for a family, ready to be loved. >> reporter: why the new adoption law signed so publicly? russian authorities say some of the adopted have been abused or died. one unruly boy was even sent
back on a plane alone to russia. also at play here say u.s. experts, retaliation. a visa ban on russian officials accused of human rights violations. >> they're retaliating by holding hostage orphans that otherwise would have homes in the united states. >> reporter: the state department says we deeply regret russia's decision. >> i would ask putin to look deep into his own heart, and these children should not be held as collateral damage. >> reporter: the froman family adopted maxim from russia a year ago. they were deep into the process of adopting maxim a russian sister when the ban became law. >> this pretty much is a life sentence for children to grow up without families. because so many americans want to. and it's just -- it's awful. >> reporter: life for russian orphans is bleak, say u.s. experts. >> they may age out of that orphanage, and in some cases end up on the streets.
>> reporter: russia joins a growing number of countries restricting adoptions, leaving the fromans, who promised maxim a sister -- >> i love you -- >> reporter: -- praying children's faces thaw politicians' hearts. kerry sanders, nbc news, miami. in india, a young woman who suffered a brutal attack two weeks ago has died of her injuries. the woman was gang raped and beaten and thrown off a moving bus in new dehli. the attack led to days of demonstrations and sometimes violent protests throughout india. the woman was airlifted to singapore two days ago for further treatment, but tonight the hospital said that despite the efforts by eight specialists, she died. she was just 23 years old. back in this country tonight, we're remembering a military legend and larger than life american. general norman schwarzkopf who died yesterday in florida from complications from pneumonia at age 78.
here is nbc's andrea mitchell. >> reporter: nicknamed "stormin' norman" for his legendary temper, norman schwarzkopf was an american original. he used his prewar briefings to try to scare saddam hussein into backing down. >> the iraqis are dumb enough to attack, they are going to pay a terrible price for it. >> they dare come across that border and come down here, i'm completely confident we're going to kick his butt when he gets here. >> reporter: when the decision to go to war was made, schwarzkopf was ready with a plan to outflank the iraqi forces with a sweeping army movement. >> instead of battering away at the fourth-largest army in the world, he encircled it. world, he i think a lot of american troops are alive today because of his sense of strategy. >> reporter: former president bush with brian williams last year. >> i remember when he came and presented his plan at camp david to us and then we fine-tuned it a little bit or asked it be fine-tuned. but he was a great soldier.
>> reporter: commanding 540,000 americans and another 200,000 allied troops, in the first war televised in real-time, general schwarzkopf's briefings made him a matinee idol. >> i would describe that report as bovine scatology. the simple fact of the matter is that now every time an iraqi airplane takes off the ground, it's running away. >> reporter: a west point graduate, like his father, a famous new jersey state police leader, who cracked the lindberg kidnapping case, the younger schwarzkopf played football, wrestled, sang in the choir. [ gunfire ] in vietnam, wounded twice. during two tours of tyutin. he returned from desert storm, a celebrated hero. despite later questions by president bush decision, leaving saddam hussein in power. in recent years, general schwarzkopf battled poor health but will long be remembered as the commanding figure he once was. >> i would be happy if the history books said that i was a
soldier who served his country with honor. and loved his troops and loved his family. that's enough for me. >> reporter: andrea mitchell, nbc news, washington. and when "nightly news" continues this friday evening, after 30 years, some revealing new insights into ronald reagan and his dealings with britain's iron lady and the queen. and later, making a difference. preserving a unique sound of music for generations to come. brennan, lad, do you know where golf was discovered? scotland! aye...and do you know where your leukemia treatment was discovered? st. jude! right! after three unsuccessful marrow transplants, st. jude children's research hospital developed a bold new fourth transplant that helped save brennan. fore! i said four. why you yelling? good one! give thanks for the healthy kids in your life. and give to those who are not. go to st. jude dot org or shop where ever you see the st. jude logo.
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we're back now with intriguing new details about president ronald reagan and his relationships with two of the most powerful women in the world. britain's prime minister margaret thatcher and the queen. hundreds of historical documents were made public today in britain, after 30 years. and nbc's duncan golestani has details from london. >> reporter: in 1982, the queen welcomed president reagan on his first stayed visit to great britain, and it all looked so effortless. >> i'm so glad to welcome you and mrs. reagan to britain. >> reporter: but the files reveal how much anxiety the trip caused in britain, what type of clocks should the reagans be given as a gift. in washington, they were much more relaxed about the visit. among documents, there is frustration that the white house is taking weeks and weeks to reply to the queen's invitation to great britain. the british ambassador notes the president's staff is not well-organized and confusion
prevails in the white house. the president had his own concerns. how should he dress for riding with the queen? the answer, whatever the president finds most comfortable. he took their advice. relations with britain's other leading lady were famously warm. prime minister thatcher called the president "ron" he addressed her as "margaret." together, they were political soul mates. >> i think they had a quite congenial, personal connection to each other. although what these documents show is that margaret thatcher wasn't always so full of praise for reagan. >> reporter: britain was at war with argentina, trying to hold on to its islands in the south atlantic. >> the united states came down firmly on our side, and we're very grateful we have been such strong allies. >> reporter: but in private, there was tension. reagan urged her to negotiate, but she wanted victory. mrs. thatcher said she was sure that the president would act in the same way if alaska had been threatened.
to get what she wanted, the iron lady used her softer side. >> dear ron, she writes. i think you are the only person who will understand the significance of what i'm trying to say. >> very personal. >> absolutely. >> reporter: mrs. thatcher's charm offensive did the trick and they remained friends long after they left power. duncan golestani, nbc news, london. and up next, going home to see your parents. in one place it's now the law. . it's now the law. . and one plac it's now the law. and one place . . . and songwriting is so hard, but i love it. these days, i guess i just don't want to miss a thing. [ laughs ] i miss you guys. that's me. and this is my windows phone. [ male announcer ] new windows phone. reinvented around you. ♪
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los angeles police say a one-day gun buyback program run this week gathered a total of 2,037 firearms, including 75 assault weapons and, believe it or not, two rocket launchers. l.a.'s police chief called the anti tank rocket launchers and assault weapons weapons of war that have no place in our great city. the buyback program is usually run on mother's day, but it was moved up this year in response to the tragic shootings in newtown, connecticut.
jean harris has died. she was the school head mistress who made headlines back in 1980 for killing her long-time lover, the doctor who wrote the scarsdale diet. the case inspired two television movies. she claimed it was an accident when she shot dr. herman tarnower in his estate in a suburb of new york city. jean harris was 89 years old. as countless americans spend time with relatives this holiday season, consider a new law in china on family matters. it says those with aging parents must visit them, and often. just how often, it doesn't say. but according to the state media, parents who feel neglected by their children will be able to take them to court. and a viral video has launched a kicker from norway to internet fame and beyond. 28-year-old havard rugland has a crazy accurate left foot. his stunt kicks are so much fun to watch, he snagged more than 1 million youtube hits.
he also has the attention of the nfl here at home, earning himself a tryout with the new york jets. good luck to him. and we're back in a moment with our "making a difference" report. a new generation preserving a rich musical tradition. generat rich musical tradition. okay, here's the plan. you have a plan? first we're gonna check our bags for free, thanks to our explorer card. then, the united club. my mother was so wrong about you. next, we get priority boarding on our flight i booked with miles. all because of the card.
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during this time of year when during this time of year when traditions play such a big role in our lives, tonight's "making a difference" report shows just how much can be accomplished when people in a community make a commitment to preserve a precious tradition. in this case, a certain special sound of music. our "making a difference" story tonight from nbc's chelsea clinton. clinton. ♪ >> reporter: mountain view, arkansas, a town deep in ozark country. where acoustic folk melodies fill the air. for more than a century, the pickin park in the center of town has been where folks comp to celebrate this traditional music. everyone is encouraged to strum and pick. especially the kids. ♪ >> there's some real beauty in the stories and songs and the music. ♪
>> reporter: but many old-timers worry their musical legacy would be lost. >> there was a lot more influence of other types of music and everything. and so we had concerns about our music. was it dying? >> reporter: 13 years ago, danny thomas was the school superintendent when he came up with a way to keep the old-time music alive. ♪ >> reporter: he called his program "music roots." beginning in the fourth grade, all students receive free instruments and free lessons from mountain view's best musicians. ♪ >> whew-hoo! >> reporter: like shea and scott poole, who own the local music store. what do you have the most fun teaching? >> the ensemble class. >> i better hear shouting and singing and ruckus. >> whew-hoo! ♪ >> reporter: fin and hayes buckley moved to mountain view just last year.
between them, they're already learning four instruments, ozark jig dancing and mountain view's self-confidence. >> with enough practice, anyone can play an instrument. >> reporter: 9-year-old fin put that to the test when he gave me my first mandolin lesson. where do i strum, right here? >> top to bottom. right. >> reporter: how does that sound? you can be honest. >> it sounds good. >> reporter: it sounds good? >> let's give a great big hand to clancy and the ragtags! >> reporter: music roots has trained over 1,000 young musicians. >> it's meant everything. it's one of the few ways that i can actually express myself. >> whew-hoo! >> reporter: some are now recording the folk music that came close to being forgotten. for the people of mountain view -- ♪ -- that's music to their ears. chelsea clinton, nbc news, mountain view, arkansas. and that is our broadcast for this friday night. thank you for being with us. i'm natalie morales in for brian williams.